Grumpy Bear Too

This is our story of Grumpy Bear Too, our Viking 26 Widebeam cruiser and our participation in the 2012 Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Pageant.   Now based on The Norfolk Broads, in 2012 she was based at Buckden Marina on the River Great Ouse.  Grumpy Bear Too is powered by a Honda 35Hp outboard engine.

In June 2011 we applied to take part in the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Pageant, a 1000 boat flotilla through London on the Tidal Thames taking place on 3rd June 2012.  Participation would be by invitation.   Early in 2012, we were delighted to be invited to take part and the planning for our adventure could begin.

Grumpy Bear Too at the Bedford River Festival 2006

Firstly, there was work to be done on the boat.  Until now, we have used standard portable outboard engine fuel tanks giving us a total capacity of 50 litres with a range, at river cruising speed, of about 100 miles.   This would be insufficient for the Tidal Thames as we would have to make 4 complete trips through London without refuelling.   We had previously  thought about having a larger internal fuel tank fitted (when planning a trip to the Norfolk Broads) – and now was the time to get it done along with the usual routine servicing.   So over the Easter Bank Holiday we moved Grumpy Bear Too from Buckden to Priory Marina in Bedford where the work would be done.  She would sit “on the hard” immediately outside Mike’s office at Walton Training, where work in progress could be monitored .  The engine would also get a good service, and the hull cleaned and polished.  A clean of her bottom and a new coat of antifoul paint would finish off the operation.

There was also the small matter of getting the prepared boat to the Thames.  However, we have done this before so it was an easy choice to contact David at Riverside Marine and Leisure based at the Pike and Eel Marina, Needingworth, Cambs who had served us so well previously.   We booked our transport for Friday 25th May which would give us 6 days pleasant cruising down the Thames to West India Dock (on the Tidal Thames near “The Dome”) where all participating boats have to be inspected by the Port of London Authority and the Met Police.

We put Grumpy Bear in at Benson Waterfront – again a marina we have used before who understand the meaning of “Customer Service”.   A phone call to them in January was met with the expected first class response and confirmation that we could not only slip in and out at Benson, but also leave our car there in secure parking.

To read the full story of our participation click on “Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Pageant” in the top menu bar.   (Remember, this is in blog format so the last postings come first).

As the tale unravels you will see that the plan did indeed come together.   Priory Marina Services in Bedford completed all of the work in time and the service provided by both Riverside Marine and Leisure, and Benson Waterfront, at both ends of the holiday, was faultless in every way.  Without all of their support the trip would not have gone as smoothly as it did – so many thanks to them.